News

Omega-3 fatty acids may slow eyesight loss in people with eye disease

November 19, 2012

A new US study suggests that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids in combination with vitamin A supplements may slow the decline in eyesight in patients with retinitis pigmentosa.

According to an analysis of data from three clinical trials involving 357 patients with typical retinitis pigmentosa who had already been taking 15,000 IU of vitamin A daily, the participants whose daily diets contained at least 0.2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids showed a 40% slower decline in distance visual acuity and a nearly 50% slower rate of decline in central visual field sensitivity in comparison to people with lower omega-3 intakes also receiving vitamin A (1).

The researchers commented that taking vitamin A in combination with an omega-3-rich diet should enable many patients with typical retinitis pigmentosa to retain both visual acuity and central visual field for most of their lives. The slower rate of decline found in the analysis would result in an additional 18 years of vision.

Retinitis pigmentosa is a condition that affects about two million people worldwide. The condition typically results in night blindness in adolescence, then the loss of side vision in young adulthood, followed by tunnel vision and finally virtual blindness by the time a patient turns 60.

References

1. Berson E. L. et al. Omega-3 intake and visual acuity in patients with retinitis pigmentosa receiving vitamin A. Archives of Ophthalmology. Published online February 2012.